Why Solar and Battery Backup Matter in Emergency Preparedness
Last Updated: April 28, 2021
How Solar Power Can Balance the Effects of Mother Nature in Natural Disasters
If you’re banking on Reno not suffering from a natural disaster in the near future, you’ll have better statistical odds against the slot machines a few miles down U.S. 95 in Las Vegas.
And, if you’re a Reno resident without rooftop solar, you are, quite literally, banking on a natural disaster not happening. Among natural disaster concerns in this region are wildfires, floods, blizzards, high winds, and earthquakes.
It’s one reason solar has expanded in the Reno market and other natural disaster-prone locations throughout America. Reno is just a microcosm of a greater emergency preparedness crisis plaguing America, which residential solar can cure.
Example of How Solar Could’ve Softened the Effects of Natural Disasters
Unfortunately, there are numerous natural disaster examples to draw from. Fortunately, these examples point to solar as a clear, nationwide disaster mitigation strategy.
For instance, after Hurricane Irma stampeded through Florida, residents demanded more gasoline than suppliers could meet. Nearly 65% of some Florida areas ran out of gas. To exacerbate the situation, the governor ordered immediate evacuations, which left many Floridians stranded.
Had the sun supplied residents with their fuel via rooftop solar and electric vehicles, a greater number of evacuations would’ve occurred, and many may not have lost their lives in the disaster.
With a solar carport, rooftop solar, and an electrically-powered vehicle, the roof of one’s home becomes a gas station, accomplishing two useful objectives amid a natural disaster:
1) preventing the need to drive somewhere to fill up, including the risks such an outing would pose, and 2) saving crucial time needed to adjust to the natural disaster appropriately.
What Traditional Electricity Producers Lack in Terms of Disaster Prevention
Coal plants, which still supply the vast majority of American energy, operate much differently than solar panels amid natural disasters. They usually shut down the second there’s a natural disaster warning.
If the coal facility gets damaged by a natural disaster, it will shut down even longer once the rebuilding and cleanup process commences.
Why? Most of these coal plants rely on grid transposal to send energy to any disaster-affected areas. These transposal conduits frequently become ruined in the grasp of a natural disaster.
Facility shutdowns make sending energy to affected areas from external power sources out of the question, therein opening up the floodgates for even more damage, confusion and chaos.
The Disaster Preparation Diversity of Solar Panels
The disaster prevention of solar doesn’t only apply to hurricanes, though. Residential and commercial solar can combat all creeds of natural disaster, from earthquakes to floods.
If a flood occurs, solar arrays above the flood line can still generate electricity. Although inclement weather is not conducive to optimal electricity generation from solar panels, the panels will still produce some energy, making them preferable over traditional energy generation methods in emergencies.
One of the foremost byproducts of a natural disaster is a loss of electrical supply. And this doesn’t just apply to large-scale, grid-tied commercial systems; it applies to everyday residences as well.
With solid racking, less to break, and increasingly sturdy engineering, solar arrays have become incredibly damage-resistant. These systems have no drips, fuel repositories or combustion mechanisms, making their durability a force to reckon with, much like the disasters nature dolls out in seemingly increased number.
Many fell news stations and media moguls overhype the many possible and overdue natural disasters in America. However, because of how ill-equipped most of us are to deal with these disasters, it amplifies the aftermath.
The numerous disasters that have occurred in the past several years can teach us about the importance solar energy will play in mitigating disasters in the future and, therefore, in saving lives.
It’s only at looking through the scope of existing natural disasters that we can learn about the solar solutions we can use to safeguard our lives and loved ones against the dangers these catastrophes impose. Sustainability is not just about being green and cost-efficient. It’s about ensuring safety, continuing our standard of living, and equipping ourselves to contend with the forces of nature that are, unfortunately, beyond our control.
The Future Implications Solar Will Have on Disaster Relief, Assistance, and Preparation
In a twist of painful irony, the increased greenhouse gas emissions caused by traditional electricity production methods will likely increase land temperatures, potentially increasing the intensity of storms like tropical cyclones and higher wind speeds.
If Mother Nature is sending us a message, solar is the loud, clear, and justifiable response. The sun is an endless resource, and it doesn’t require manpower to function. When human resources are tending to the wreckage of a natural disaster, solar power continues to run unmanned, giving it yet another leg up on traditional energy production in the wake of a natural disaster.
Ground-mounted and rooftop residential solar, adopted in mass, can mitigate future disasters, and wouldn’t require costly implementation, either. These systems save families, corporations, and individuals money regardless of whether a natural disaster occurs. Aside from the sturdiness of the solar panels and solar rooftop modules, solar providers with battery backup prepare us for disasters and short-term, minor losses in power.
With a world increasingly tied to electricity and powered devices, power continuity—on both domestic and commercial levels—is non-negotiable.
Mother Nature has a way of hitting us where it hurts. If we don’t start using the resources she’s given us in mass, this trend will only intensify. Given that solar has become more affordable and natural disasters increasingly impose a greater risk than ever with greater population density, the opportunity to go solar has never been more viable.